The Character Group has revealed its interim results for the six months ending February 28th - reporting sales of £37.8 million, down 22 per cent compared with the same period in 2008 (£48.6 million).
The operating loss in the period was £3.74 million, compared to a profit of £3.4 million for the similar period in 2008. This included an exceptional loss of £1.06 million, being the bad debt suffered due to Woolworths going into administration.
The loss before tax on the same basis was £3.84 million, compared to a profit of £3.25 million at the half year point in 2008.
Group sales since Christmas have more or less reflected the marketplace, the firm said. In a statement, chairman Richard King said: "Subject to a return to a more normal marketplace, acceptable margin levels should be maintained during the second half of the financial year.
"Our large product development programme, especially with our HM Armed Forces range, which is being launched within days, puts us in a strong position to take advantage of any uplift in sales that occurs.
"Whilst we anticipate trading profitably during the remainder of the financial year, we do not expect to recover the losses of the first half, in full.
"However, we do believe that we are capable of making progress throughout the remainder of the calendar year and, despite the market remaining difficult, we shall maintain our position as one of the largest players in the toy and games market."